Law enforcement, security, fire and rescue, and EMS are easily recognized professions. Among the similarities, these professions are essential to public safety. When considering these professions, job seekers and people seeking careers should appreciate the value of these outstanding men and women to their communities. Applicants should also consider the downsides of stressful and demanding work.

Law Enforcement and Security

Law enforcement jobs apply criminal and civil laws across the population, and they play a critical role in public safety. They have distinctive uniforms and a credential mounted in an official ID wallet. Fire and rescue are the familiar and reliable backbone of US communities. While most of us run from burning buildings and dangerous scenes, these brave men and women start to work saving lives and protecting property. EMS personnel are first responders that must deal with the most difficult life-threatening situations that occur on our streets, roads, and populated areas of every type. Security professionals have critical roles in safety and keep public spaces accessible for everyone. They require physical and skills training in communications, public relations.

Criminal justice is a crucial element of a democratic society. It is the point where the law applies to every individual, and it must be applied in an even-handed manner with respect for human dignity. Security work has a similar aspect, but it is more often a private facing business such as security for a place, facility, or a group of individuals like schoolchildren or elected officials.

Pros of Law Enforcement and Security

  • Serves a vital function of public safety
  • Offers rewarding work as public servants
  • Challenging environment that requires continuing education and growth

Cons of Law Enforcement and Security

  • These are often high-stress jobs
  • Many positions require long and irregular hours
  • Pay may be lower than expected for the level of responsibility

– EMS and Fire and Rescue

Fire and Rescue is a broad field that intertwines the advanced arts of firefighting with life-saving, first-responder capacities. It may go unnoticed until needed; fire trucks often carry the same life-saving equipment as ambulances. Firefighters deal with high-danger environment and extreme situations on a daily basis.

The required training and education for EMS positions are valuable. The EMS experience can lead to further options in high paying medical careers.

Pros of EMS, Fire and Rescue

  • Provides a vital public safety function
  • Professionals get extensive technical training

Cons of EMS, Fire and Rescue

  • Lower pay than expected in many, particularly smaller, communities
  • High levels of effort and stress
  • High levels of risk

-Technology and Innovation

In today’s technology-driven society, public service professionals must use a broader definition of career education than in previous decades. Technology and innovation affect nearly every part of today’s day to day living conditions. For example, fires are no longer as they were with the advent of new materials, increased electronics, and advanced chemicals. Further, emergency response involves using technology such as drones in search and rescue.

Among the negatives in these essential public professions are the long hours, frequently dangerous conditions, and relatively low pay. The trends are also important; as federal, state and local governments use contract forces to carry out these emergency and public functions, the wages are going down. Public pay has become more stable when compared to similar work in the private sector. Public employment is more secure that contract work in the private sector.

– The Fight for Greater Recognition and Reward

Public service professionals are an essential part of US communities in large cities and rural areas, and all levels in between the extremes. While everyone understands the vital roles that public professionals perform, the income levels often put these valuable workers at a disadvantage. In many communities, public employees frequently have side jobs to help meet personal and family expenses.

Public professionals and other civic workers must fight and campaign for better wages and working conditions. Some dramatic efforts gain public attention, such as statewide teacher’s strikes; the smaller and less publicized activities also have a significant impact.

Local and national news fills today’s headlines with the demands placed on public service professions. One cannot measure their importance by the salaries they receive. Public service professionals are part of the mortar that holds our communities together. They may not be ideal professions for everyone, but there are few more rewarding experiences that the life-saving careers of first responders and public professionals.